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Originally posted February 28, 2012
Union Alternative School set to graduate 1,000th student March 15
Graduating more students than any similar program in the state, Union Alternative School, 5656 S. 129th E. Ave., will celebrate its 1,000th graduate in a ceremony at the school at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 15.
“None of the other approximately 250 Alternative schools in Oklahoma has reached this number of graduates, according to the Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center,” Principal Richard Storm said.
The school, which serves 200 students, operates in four-week blocks instead of semesters, allowing students to graduate at the end of each block throughout the school year. Students also have the option of participating in traditional commencement with other Union seniors at the Mabee Center.
Nine students - Bianca Williams, Zach Meyer, Kim DeMarco, Vanesa Medina, Tyrone Meadows, Aelicia Powell, Amanda Gable, Devin Seals, and Diana Portillo - have finished all required classes and passed the required end-of-instruction tests to qualify for graduation on March 15.
All students who enter the program are deemed substantially at risk of not graduating from the regular education program at Union Public Schools for reasons such as academic deficiencies, poor attendance, social or emotional issues, pregnancy, or behavioral problems, Storm said. Almost a quarter of the school’s students are recovered dropouts.
“When we started this program in 1995, we had three teachers and 45 students and limited resources, but Union’s school board and administration have always strongly supported our efforts, so the program has flourished,” Storm said.
This support is evidenced by the school’s growth to 200 students housed in a state-of-the-art separate facility, which includes three buildings, three computer labs, electronic white boards in each of the 13 classrooms, and a full service cafeteria.